Living in an expat world: Join the club! - The Post

Living in an expat world: Join the club!

Making new contacts is crucial

Full sail ahead on the sea of integration if you join a club in Denmark (photo: istock)
May 17th, 2015 7:00 pm| by Tiny Maerschalk


Joining a club has been my key to settling in Denmark. I’ve got close friends, two jobs and tons of great experiences through my involvement in Aarhus Sailing Club. My experiences are shared by many internationals in Denmark – joining a club or an association simply is the way to meet Danes and build a network.

Language barrier
Moreover, analyses show that 89 percent of Danish clubs and associations are open towards international members. However, 83 percent of internationals in Denmark find it difficult to obtain information on local clubs and associations – and only 4 percent of clubs have information in English on their website.

As a way to accommodate internationals and clubs interested in being matched, International Community has started an initiative that aims facilitate contact, networking and friendships among international newcomers and Danes. In addition, we regularly co-operate with clubs that wish to open their doors to internationals.

International interest
For instance, a couple of weeks ago AGF Tennis had an open house for both Danes and internationals. Only four Danes turned up for the introduction in Danish, while 50 internationals showed up for the English introduction – and 11 of them became members instantly!

AGF Tennis was not aware of the huge potential in getting international members. They and many other clubs in Denmark regularly try to attract Danes, while internationals have been an overlooked target group. We hope that this is about to change.

Join the club
The tennis story should definitely serve as an inspiration to other clubs wishing to get more members – and maybe more hands to assist in running the club as coaches.

The story may also be an inspiration for you as an international in Denmark. Clubs and associations are not only platforms for taking up your hobby. If you attend a club you will surely enhance both your social and professional network.
Personally, I have great experiences getting both close friends and two jobs, so I can only urge you to join the club!



Belgium’s Tiny Maerschalk, who has worked for the International Community networking platform since its foundation in 2008, knows how it feels to settle in a new country. Dedicated to improving conditions for new arrivals, here she shares her insights about the business issues that mean the most to internationals in Denmark.